Here are The California Summer Sunshine Award Winners for 2017

The winners for this year’s Summer Sunshine Awards have been announced.

The USDA Western Region Office uses the Summer Sunshine Awards to acknowledge the outstanding achievements and hard work of summer meals program operators in the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option throughout the Western Region states.

The 2017 review panel included representatives from the WRO as well as the Food & Research Action Center, Share our Strength, Feeding America, and the USDA Food Nutrition Service Office of Community Food Systems.

“The Summer Food Service Program enables children to receive free healthy and nutritious meals during the summer and off-track periods,” said State Superintendent Tom Torlakson. ”The summer meal programs could not exist without the sponsors who operate these sites. Feeding students in our most disadvantaged communities during the summer helps those children return to the school year ready to learn.”

Sponsors are recognized in four different categories:

The Reaching Rural, Tribal and Underserved Communities Award recognizes organizations that started or expanded their summer meal programs for underserved children. The two California awardees successfully increased meal access for children in:

  • Del Norte County Unified School District
  • San Jacinto Unified School District

The Innovative and Impactful Enrichment Activities Award is presented to organizations that demonstrated commitment to providing enrichment activities such as physical and nutrition education, summer learning, and wellness promotion. These awardees utilized partnerships, volunteers, and donations to create engaging activities including healthy barbecues, gardening, reading, exercise, and wellness education:

  • Hesperia Unified School District
  • Manteca Unified School District
  • Riverside Unified School District

The Excellence in Community Partnerships Award is a commendation for organizations that effectively collaborated with community partners to strengthen their local summer meal programs. The California winner in this category partnered with nonprofit social service organizations:

  • YMCA of Superior California Summer Camp Collaborations

The Raising Community Awareness Award recognizes organizations that utilized innovative and effective marketing and outreach methods to raise community awareness. These California awardees worked with elected officials, private nonprofits, and other partners to reach families through bus advertisements, radio, and social media, in addition to developing an outreach toolkit for other organizations:

  • Natomas Unified School District
  • Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative

To learn more about California summer meal programs, please visit the California Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program website.